Review Summary: Combining the pros of the black and thrash genres, Destroyer 666 have skillfully grafted an album that will easily embrace those who listen to it.
“How is it that I have become the Hunter and the Hunted, and thought has become my enemy"
Destroyer 666 is one of those rarities in music that doesn’t appear often. Mixing the atmospheric-inducing abilities of black metal and the power/speed of thrash with a hint of melody, Destroyer 666 are one of the most interesting bands to emerge in our generation. There have been others who have stepped foot into the world of blackened thrash (such as Desaster), but none of them even touch the majestic display that Destroyer 666 has put forth with “Phoenix Rising
Every song on “Phoenix Rising” is perfected slab of brutal and engaging blackened thrash. KK Warslut, that vocalist, emits dark growls with pinpoint precision over Shrapnel’s imaginative riffs, whose backbone seems to be rooted in thrash but mixes in a touch of splendor to add to the atmosphere. “Rise of the Predator” and “Phoenix Rising” are quick one-two black metal punches to the face, reminiscent of the “Blood Fire Death” era Bathory, complete with hammering drums, pulverizing riffs, and screeching vocals. When Warslut takes aim at our society on the blistering short “The Last Revelation” with “It's not enough to be in love, We hide behind the word
”, Shrapnel backs him with flowing leads. The 7:30 ‘epic’, “I Am the Wargod (Ode to the Battle Slain)”, is a brilliantly constructed work of art, incorporating a strong melo-death influence and solos in full blitzkrieg mode.
Truth be told, there is not one dull moment to be found on “Phoenix Rising”, as every track seems to feed off of the success of the last. Every song has more than its own share of glory moments, such as “Lone Wolf Winter”, whose fantastic lyrics (also including the line at the top of this review) change back and forth rapidly from dark messages (“Black days and blacker Nights gets the gift of the second sight
”) to quick, outlandish bursts (“I think what I need is a Bitch, don't you"”
), all the while being locked together by ferocious drumming and destructively beautiful riffs. Whether it is the frantic lead work on the hard-hitting “The Eternal Glory of War”, the raw power behind Warslut’s vocals on the title track, or the downright thrashing on “The Birth of Tragedy”, there’s always something to look forward to on “Phoenix Rising”.
If there’s really anything that might damper the experience presented here, it’s the disappointing fact that there are only 8 songs. However, you get something completely innovative, so most will be hard pressed to hold it against Destroyer 666. The usual qualms of repetitiveness and lack of a bass also don’t hold any ground here. Each song is sculpted individually, never once using the same mold. This is almost completely unheard of for a modern metal band to do, since most new material is simply rehashed. The bass, which is usually a moderate irk, isn’t so due to Bullet Eater’s strong presence on the album. Not only is he audible, but he is constantly branching off to add another level (instrumentally) to the songs, such as on “The Birth of Tragedy”.
“Phoenix Rising” is an album that everyone should experience. For those who lean more towards black metal, they will find comfort in the dark atmosphere that Destroyer 666 creates, while the thrashers will take shelter under the brutal salvo of riffs. Find this, and find this now; you will not be disappointed if you like your metal raw and unrelenting.
Overall – 4.5/5